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Name: Joydeep Saha
Camera : Nikkon D50
Location : Kumortuli
Date : 12-9-2009
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Majestic Bhutan

Bhutan is no ordinary place. It is a Himalayan kingdom with a reputation for mystery and magic, where a traditional Buddhist culture carefully embraces global developments.

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

All tourists (excluding Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian passport holders) who wish to travel to Bhutan require a visa and must book their holiday through a Bhutanese tour operator or one of their international partners. The tour operator will take care of Visa arrangements for visitors. A listing of licensed Bhutanese tour operators can be found at the link below.

Comprehensive list of Tour Operators: http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/tour-operators

Learn more about visa requirements: http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/visa

In keeping with the Tourism Council of Bhutan's policy of "High Value. Low Impact" tourism a Minimum Daily Package is required for tourists. To learn more about the Minimum Daily Package, please follow the link below:

Minimum Daily Package: http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/minimum-daily-package

The climate in Bhutan is extremely varied. This variation in the climatic conditions and average temperature can be attributed to two main factors, the vast differences in altitude present in the country and the influence of the north Indian monsoons.

Southern Bhutan has a hot, humid sub-tropical climate that is fairly unchanging throughout the year. Temperatures can vary between 15-30 degrees Celsius. In the Central parts of the country the climate cools a bit, changing to temperate and deciduous forests with warm summers and cool, dry winters. In the far Northern reaches of the kingdom the weather is cold during winter. Mountain peaks are perpetually covered in snow and lower parts are still cool in summer owing to the high altitude terrain.

- See more at: http://www.tourism.gov.bt/about-bhutan/climatic#sthash.2IGxxXqi.dpuf

Best time to travel

The two of the seasons which are considered as the best time to travel in Bhutan are spring and autumn. But the natural beauty of Bhutan is capable of drawing tourists in winter and summer too. Nature lovers can try to come during the spring as various flower festivals in Bhutan are in store for them. These festivals are held during May and the end of April. Tourists can also participate in the colourful rally of Bhutan's king. During autumn, the weather is just perfect to travel around the country. It is also famous for its festivals like harvest festivals and the Black-necked Crane Festival. But if any traveler wants to avoid the chilliness and high tariffs, then they should visit Bhutan during the summer. Summer can offer greener views and clear skies with vibrant beauty of nature. Winter is suitable for those travelers who don't like crowds. Winter in Bhutan offers many beautiful scenes like watching cranes and the Himalayan skyline in all their glory.


How to get there

Every tourist (except the nationals of Maldives, Bangladesh and India) should get their visa before their departure. Visitors can reach Bhutan by:

1.Bus: from India 

2.By Air: There are planes routes from Bhutan that reach Bangkok, Kolkata, Dhaka, Gaya, Delhi and Guwahati. These planes land in Paro international airport. This is the only entry point of Bhutan. Recently Bhutan has introduced another airport where flights from Singapore and Mumbai are operated. 

3.Car: There are a total of 3 border check posts along the border with India. Border crossings are generally not a free pass affair. During car travel, the road permit and visa should be processed properly by the local operators of the tour. 

4.Train: Bhutan does not have its own railway network. So the best way is to reach Hasimara in India from the Kolkata-Siliguri line and cross the borders by car. Visitors can also take a train to Jalpaiguri and then reach Bhutan by bus or shared taxi. 

Local Transport

Bhutan has innumerable ways of transport. The common ways of transport are:

1.By bus: The roads of Bhutan have many steep turns and twists, but still it is safe for driving. The local bus services are not very comfortable but are useful going one place to another. Generally the tour guides arrange for a driver and a vehicle but the costs of the arrangement are included in the tariff.

2.By car: Driving a car in the Bhutan needs a road permit. It is not advisable to drive a car in Bhutan just to experience the thrill. But the visitors can rent a car and a driver for a comfortable and planned journey. 

3.By air: Paro is the primary airport in Bhutan. Travelling by air is the most comfortable way to view the beautiful countryside of Bhutan. 

Food

The food in Bhutan is characterized by the level of its spiciness. Chillies are an important part of every Bhutanese dish. The staple part of every meal consists of rice and 2 or 3 side dishes. These side dishes generally consist of vegetables and meat. The types of meat which are eaten are pork, beef and chicken. Grains like rice, barley and buckwheat are the main type of food grains produced here. Vegetables like onions, green beans, river weed, turnips, spinach, pumpkins, radishes, tomatoes are found in Bhutan. Some Bhutanese dishes are:
  • Momos: Dumplings which are stuffed with pork, cheese, cabbages etc.
  • Red rice: Soft and pale pink colored rice filled with nutrition.
  • Jasha maru: This is special type chicken minced with spicy tomatoes.
  • Tripe: It is one of the meat dishes with lots of chilli powder.
  • Ema Datshi: A mixture of green beans, mushrooms, potatoes, ferns and cheese. It can also have yak cheese.

How many days are enough to travel?

Well Bhutan may appear to be a small country on the map, but it is actually large in reality, as there's so much to see. Generally 5-6 days is enough to travel across the whole country, but if someone wishes to learn more about its culture then they should stay for around 10-15 days. This trip can help the tourist to enjoy the natural beauty and also isolate them from all the tensions and stresses of their life. So the travelers should plan their tour from the start and should take help from the tour guides. Also booking of cars or transport should be done from the start to enjoy everything in good time. 

Places to Visit in Bhutan

  • Paro
  • Taktsang Monastery
  • Phuentsholing
  • Thimphu
  • Trashi Chhoe Dzong
  • Bumthang
  • Punakha
  • Haa Valley
  • Taktsang Temple


For Detailed Information on Sikkim visit here: Bhutan Tourism

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